My Dad’s Grilled Cheese Happy Place

by Addie, age 10 1/2

Addie with Grilled Cheese for DOOF

You know that feeling of you just went to your happy place I get that feeling every time I eat my dad’s grilled cheese. I don’t know what he does to it, or is it just how he waits till that perfect second to take it off whatever he does to it they taste great.

Addie's Grilled Cheese

All the restaurants just make it too fancy my dad just uses Kraft cheese and whatever bread we have. To me my dad’s grilled cheeses are the best in the universe, but that’s just my opinion I wish I could have them 24-7 that would be awesome, and the best part is my dad likes making them so that’s great sometimes I see him sneak a bite.

I think he should open a restaurant and all they serve are my dad’s grilled cheese, but sadly that can’t happen my dad is already busy enough with work and all that.

Someday I hope that he will tell me his secret so I can make them for my kids when I’m older.

What I’m wondering: what food takes you to your happy place?

Addie with ZeBot

Want to write your own food blog for DooF?

All About Osh

by Kamola, age 9

Kamola & ZeBot Hail to ZeKale

I want to share one of my family’s favorite food traditions–and one of my very favorite foods in the whole world.

It is called osh.

I hope you like my video.

And I hope you’ll try making osh for your own family!

Want to write your own food blog for DooF? It’s fun and easy–for details, please click here!

Super-Secret Agent Spices!

ZeGreat Spice Detectives! by the Spice Secret Agents (oldest to youngest): Maorr (age 8), Ofri (age 8), Mathan (age 6), Aya (age 6), Ido (age 5) and Ophir (age 3 1/2)

We want to know EVERYTHING about spices, so we’re going to spy on them.

We’re going to be the world’s best spice secret agent spies. Kids are amazing secret agents. Even a zebra can be a secret agent.

The way you be a secret agent spice spy is to look and smell and touch and taste. You can do it when the spices aren’t watching!

Grinding Spices

We’re learning about every clue to find which spice is the most flavorful and has the strongest aroma.

We’re finding out who’s making them. Why are they making them?

We want to get to the bottom of this. We want answers now! We’re going to solve this mystery. But how?

ZeGreat Spice Hunt

We use our fingers to touch spices. We smell them. We taste them.

We use a magnifying glass to see what they look like up close.

We look at them whole and ground up.

We look in books to find out more and more and more.

We go to special classes by Whole Spice!

Ghost Chiles

What makes chiles spicy? There’s this chemical called (we looked in the Field Guide to Spices) called capsaicin. Chiles come from a family called capsicum which sounds like popsicle, except chiles are hot and popsicles are cold.

The hottest chiles in the whole world are called ghost chiles. They’re so hot they’re spooky!

All About Salt

Salt is not spooky at all. It comes from ocean water that evaporates and leaves behind salt.

Also we know that cilantro and coriander seeds come from the same plant.

ZeBot Cilantro

You can make spices taste different by blending them together. You can blend them any way that tastes good to you. That is the only rule: you have to blend them so that you like them!

We like to put our spice blends on baked sweet potatoes.

They are yummy AND very good for you!

Seasoning a Potato

Spices are fun!

Where do they come from? They come from the whole world! And they come from Whole Spice!

We will tell you A LOT more after we spy more. STAY TUNED!!!!!!

PS For more super-secret spiece info & to watch our super-spicy video, please visit ZeBot’s Kitchen!

A World of Spices ZeBot's Row of Spices

DooFy Farmers’ Market Veggie Creatures!

Looking for creative ways to showcase your farmers’ market finds?

We’ve learned that a truly hands-on approach to food is what kids love best!

Check out these cool creatures, crafted (and eaten) by some of our favorite kids!

"Spike" by Emilio, age 5. Oakland

“Spike” the Broccoli Guy

DooFy Pepper Monster

DooFy Pepper Monster

DooFy PooFy Elephant

DooFy PooFy Elephant

Lipstick Queen

Lipstick Queen

Got your own favorite creatures? Share them on our Facebook page!

Got your own favorite creatures? Share them on our Facebook page!

Composting is Cool!

by ZeBot, Lilliana (age 9) & the Planet DooF Kids

ZeBot Compost Sign

We went to visit Potrero Nuevo farm to learn about the best ways to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs. We also learned about the best ways to use scraps from those foods to help other plants grow.

It’s called composting and it’s a way to feed plants using the natural waste that comes from other plants. Composting is a way to break down organic material in waste so that it can become a fertilizer for a garden or a farm.

Kids AND zebras love the idea of recycling plants to feed other plants!

Kids AND zebras love the idea of recycling plants to feed other plants!

We walked around with Farmer Suzie who showed us the fields and greenhouses where everything grows. Then we went to where they have a compost pile. We did not want to get too close but our friend ZeBot the zebra said he’d have his picture taken so we did.

We asked how composting works. Basically you take scraps of fruits and vegetables and grass and whatever and put in in a pile on your farm or in your backyard. You can keep a container in your kitchen to keep your food scraps in until you are ready to put them in the pile.

Sitting near a compost pile is very, um, fragrant!

Sitting near a compost pile is very, um, fragrant!

When composting happens microorganisms in the soil eat the scraps and break it down to make a fertilizer. If you want it to happen faster you can add worms. You also have to move stuff in the pile around which is called turning the compost pile. It takes either weeks or months to make the compost. It depends on what is in it and the weather and other things.

There a lot of ways to use composting including the funny outhouse on the farm where we took a picture of ZeBot. You should not try to do this unless you are a compost expert because human and animal waste is poisonous for compost unless you know a bunch of expert things.

Proof that ANYONE can help make compost!

Proof that ANYONE can help make compost!

The best way for a beginner to learn composting is to start saving kitchen scraps then put them in a pile in your yard. Then wait for them to turn into fertilizer. Then put that on your garden to feed it. You could do this at home or your school garden if you have one.

Why should you have a compost pile? Because it is a way to recycle things like apple cores and vegetable peels and other things that someone might just put in a garbage can. And it’s really cool that the garbage plants can end up feeding other plants.

We should all compost because it’s good for the plants and good for us and good for the earth!

Save the Planet Painting

ZeBig Chill: A Zebra Investigates Freeze-Dried Fruit

ZeBot & ZeBig Chill Snowman in Snow with White Frameby ZeBot Zebra

One thing zebras know is that when we don’t know something we want to know, it’s time to start asking lots of questions.

Case in point: the other day, I overheard some scientific humans discussing “freeze-drying” as a good way to preserve fresh fruit. Supposedly, when you freeze-dry fruit, it will keep its great taste and color for years and years!

Frosty Life Around the Fruit Bowl

Well, I’m a huge fan of fruit, so that sounded totally cool to me (pun totally intended)! But how the heck would a zebra go about freeze-drying?

My zebra buddies and I decided to get some frosty advice from our coolest friends: the SnowDudes and the Penguin Brothers. They said they were pretty sure they’d seen a polar bear freezing-drying his own food, so how hard could it be?

Apples, Polar Bear Style

For the rest of this super-cool story (including amazing food science, a chilled-out video & easy recipe for homemade honey-vanilla frozen yogurt), click here to be transported to ZeBot’s Kitchen!

ZeFrozen Yogurt Close-Up

Wonderful Water Buffaloes!

Ramini Posterby Julianne, age 12

Today we got to see water buffaloes. The farm that we visited makes mozzarella cheese from the water buffaloes’ milk. You would think that water buffalo milk cheese would not taste as good as goat cheese or cow cheese. But really out of all of them, I think buffalo cheese is the best.

Every spring and fall the water buffaloes have babies and the mothers produce the milk that makes mozzarella cheese. Each water buffalo has a name that Craig, the farmer, gives them. I think that it is really sweet.

First-time mothers & calves!

First-time mothers & calves!

There were three pastures. The first pasture in the front was the babies and their mothers. They were mother buffaloes who had their first calves ever. The calves always stay with their mothers and never leave their sight.

The second pasture was water buffaloes who had their calves last fall. The third pasture had water buffaloes who were going to have calves this year.

Hello, I'm a water buffalo!

Hello, I’m a water buffalo!

The third pasture got split up. While we were there, Craig separated the young buffaloes from their mothers. It took about ten minutes. Usually it does not take that long but the cows were there.  A few times one of the mothers ran across the field toward Craig and made a loud honking noise. She wanted to know if her baby was okay.

We got to go into the pen where the young 1-2 year old buffaloes were.

These are 1-2 year old water buffalo.

These are 1-2 year old water buffaloes – don’t you love their hair?

We got to pet them. They loved when you scratched them behind their horns and ears, because their hooves cannot reach there. When you start to pet them, they lick you or chew your clothes.

Petting water buffalo is really fun!

Petting water buffalo is really fun!

They felt kind of rough and their horns were smooth. Their hair was parted down the middle. My favorite buffalo was Bob Dylan because he was the smallest of them all and really cute. His tag was #12. They were so cute. We thought that our friend Laura should take one home with her.

Craig Serving Cheese

This is mozzarella cheese — and Craig is serving it for us!

Craig gave us some samples of the mozzarella cheese to taste. It was a fresh new batch made yesterday at night. It felt soft and squirmy. It tasted creamy and different from other cheese.

Craig told us that a lot of people really want to buy mozzarella cheese from him because his cheese is really good. When you cut the cheese, liquid comes out and that’s hard to make that.

I think it was the best mozzarella cheese I ever had!

They start milking the buffaloes a few weeks after they just had their baby because that’s when the milk is there. When the mothers are milked for the first time, Craig brings their calf with the mother so the mother knows her calf is safe and sound. If her calf was not there she could get worried and not give her milk. That’s bad because they would be behind on milk for a day.

These are the barn cats! Super cute!

These are the barn cats! Super cute!

They milk the water buffaloes in the barn every morning at 8:00. Craig purposely spills some of the milk for the cats. There are about 7 cats who live in the barn. They were feral cats but now they are family.

When new hay comes to the farm, it is filled with mice, so the cats’ job is to catch the mice. The cats know when the hay truck is coming and you can tell because they all leave their beds and go by the back wheels of the truck. When is the hay is taken out of the truck, the cats chase after the mice and eat them. Sometimes they catch garden snakes and birds. Craig does not like when they catch birds because there are feathers all over the place.

Me!

Me!

I think it was an honor to go there and I think I will remember this trip for a long time! Thank you Craig for having us!!!

 Want to learn how the cheese is made? Check out this cool blog by my friend ZeBot Zebra, where he interviews the baby water buffalo at Ramini Mozzarella!

Want to write your own blog? Visit our project page at Green Ribbon Schools to find out how you and your friends can post your cool creative stuff — or email us at kidsfoodblog@gmail.com!

Welcome: An Essay on Food & Life

by Jacob, age 16

Jacob-Age 16

Welcome to my kitchen, where I cut meat and other fleshy things. I like to cook on my stove. I like my meat charred to the bone. It smells so good while I’m searing it in olive oil. I cook the meat for about 20 minutes usually and then eat it. It tastes like chicken so I love it. I then usually skip over to my refrigerator and pour myself a glass of thick red from the hearts of the most interesting of places.

Welcome to the Beach, where I can lay my feet in the water and relax. I inhale and exhale with so much relief that I am here. A place unlike anywhere else in the world. The sweet, salty, satisfying smell of the ocean brings me into an entrancing new life. I feel the water run up and down my feet like it is trying to grasp me into its life. I look up, its already time for the sun to go down. It brings me uplifting sight as its beauty shines off the water showing me the future is bright. Nobody is here but me, and I truly enjoy that feeling. A place where I can just lie down and think, and think, and think, and think, and plan, and think.

Welcome to the Concrete Jungle, where people are rude, unintelligent, and do not understand how society works. I look around and see nothing but filthy creatures trying to corrupt the world. Nobody cares about others in this place. People stick to themselves and themselves only in the city. If one person is to go missing, who is to know, who is to care, and who is to try and figure it out. Cars honk, people talk, and the city life goes on. No matter what happens to these people, the city, the state, and the world will go on.

Welcome to the Sport, where I am tested to show my physical abilities and always make sure I perform to the best of my abilities. I must put in the work that is needed to get the result that I want. I train with a mindset unlike any other person. My passion for the sport is unique in the sense that I am only one of a few that enjoys it. There is always a goal in this the sport I do.  Every time I have set a goal in this sport that I so much love, I have always reached it.

Welcome to life, where everything is glorious. I set goals for myself and always accomplish them. Because of my working ethic, I always am in a good mood. I enjoy lying around at the house and spending my time at the beach. My favorite color is red, which is the color I painted my walls. The cool thing is, is that people like me. They even donated the red paint for me to use for my walls. My life is always filled with people. People come in and out of my life with the snap of my finger but they are gone, not forgotten. My life is quiet most of the time unless I’m doing the sport that I love so much. And I always play this sport with another person. I am never alone, ever.

Welcome to my mind, where my thoughts are everlasting and everything is always thought about. I love to think about others and how my future might end up. My morals always seem to pop up in my mind. Are they good? Or are they bad? I can never tell. As long as I’m happy, then it does not matter. I always seem to reckon into my past, but the past is not the present and the present is the only thing that matters. My mind is stronger than most. People think they can predict the future but they are not even close. Unlike these people, I can see the future for others, but only the people that I want to see the future for.

I welcome all  of you

ZeHunger Challenge

ZeBot's Hunger Challengeby ZeBot Zebra

Zebras love challenges (including learning to cook and write without the benefit of opposable thumbs). And we’re always hungry for new things—new foods, new friends, new ideas.

So when I heard about the Hunger Challenge, I knew I wanted to give it a try—but in a ZeZillion years, I could never have imagined how powerfully it would help me learn about the world around me.

The Hunger Challenge is a five-day journey initiated by the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, whose executive director Paul Ash describes it as a special way to “become an advocate for the hungry.”

ZeBot Lentils

How do you do it? Well, it’s pretty simple, but not easy.

All you need to do is live on a food stamp budget ($4.50 per person/zebra per day) that’s supplemented by a list of fresh seasonal foods and staples that are available at the local food pantry.

By asking people (and zebras) to participate in the challenge, the Food Bank is hoping to create a perspective of understanding and empathy.

“We can read articles and digest statistics,” Paul says, “but until hunger is a visitor at your table, it’s difficult to wrap your head around the complexity of the problem.”

I wanted to wrap my head and heart and stripes around the challenges: I know that 1 in 4 local residents go hungry every day. And in other parts of the country and the world, the problem is even bigger.

Read more of ZeBot’s story — and find Deborah Madison’s Caramelized Tofu recipe here!